Town celebrates its heritage with sculpture carved from a tree trunk
PUBLISHED: 11:57 09 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:56 09 March 2020
A town is keeping its heritage alive as a team of chainsaw carvers have given new meaning to an old bit of tree trunk.
Brandon's marketplace was a hive of activity as visitors watched chainsaw sculptors turn a tree trunk weighing nearly three tones into a flintknapper sculpture.
Gary Brocklehurst, Brandon Town Councillor and chairman of Brandon in Bloom, originally came up with the idea for the sculpture nearly five years ago, as a way to celebrate the town's heritage of being home to the "best flint and flintknappers in the world".
Flintknapping is the process of chipping away material stones, like flint found in Brandon, with special tools to produce sharp projectile points or tools.
Now after years of planning, the sculpture was finally able to go ahead after Brandon in Bloom successfully applied for the Co-op local community fund and Mr Brocklehurst said it is "fantastic" to finally see his idea come to life.
He said: "Brandon is the home of the best flint in the world. The flintknappers here were very skilled men who supplied gun flint to European armies fighting Napoleon.
"The idea was to put something on the market that created interest, get people talking and draw people into the town. I think we need to be looking at heritage and tourism because there is so much in this area.
"It's a fantastic feeling to know it's something you have done for the town that will be there for years to come."
The carving team made up of Clarkey Whiteman, owner of Carve it Up Styley, Caroline Kearvell and Mike Jones, owner of Man and His Dog Carvings, started work on the giant stump of Wellingtonia, a giant sequoia tree from Lord and Lady Iveagh's Elveden Estate, on Monday March 2.
Only five days later, on Friday March 6, the tree stump had been completely transformed into a carved sculpture resembling a flintknapper man at work.
Mr Whiteman said: "Quite a while back Gary called me up and had the idea that he wanted a flinknapper carved so I said when you give me the green light I will get a team together and we will do it in the town and put on an event so the whole of Brandon can be involved.
"It has been a great experience and the reaction we have had from the people of Brandon has been amazing. We are all over the moon with it."
The sculpture will be moved to its official home on the wedge, in Thetford Road.